New Purchases: Committee Picks

Thank you to everyone who came down to Elysia Crampton and Joanne in Bradford on Thursday; it was a really, really special evening and we hope you had as good of a time as we had ❤

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Just to remind you that we got loads of really great stuff earlier this month – you can check out our haul (with a few member reviews) here. If you need anymore help picking what to take out, here are some of our faves:

Annabel: Ziúr – Deeform; Elysia Crampton – Elysia Crampton Presents: Demon City; Rae Sremmurd – SremmLife 2; Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman

I bought the Ziúr EP on a whim and it’s definitely my favourite new addition; it’s really good and you should all listen to it. I’ve already done enough to plug the Crampton album. SremmLife 2 bangs from start to finish; ‘Just Like Us’ is maybe one of the nicest songs of 2016. I finally got round to listening to Dangerous Woman and God bless Ariana. The album covers pretty much all there is to being a female twenty-something in 2016 and I wish I’d been able to listen to it earlier.

Daoud: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree; Beyoncé – Lemonade

My name is Daoud and I like popular music… I really like old white men being sad.

The above is what Annabel wrote on my behalf as a stand in for any actual review, and she’s not wrong. I do like popular music, and am now much more willing to admit that than ever. I guess I have Beyoncé partly to thank for that, always having been seen as “acceptable” by the rock critics whose direction I so willingly followed. Her latest, Lemonade, is an absolute classic. I don’t think I’m changing anyone’s mind in saying this but hey, it’s something worth saying. It’s a journey through sadness, scorn, resentment and forgiveness. It’s a journey through r’n’b, hip-hop, rock, and (actually quite left-field) electronic music. Lemonade is Beyoncé harnessing changes to her life to make sure no one comes out of Lemonade unchanged.

The list of emotions I attribute to Lemonade are a handy in to the second of the parts of Annabel’s ventriloquising of me. Emotions are a big part of my connection to music, and it’s when I can find the emotion in music that I tend to start enjoying it. This explains, I think, my hostility to so much electronic dance music when I was younger. It’s easy to pass it off as somehow un-emotional, un-human, when it’s all made by computers and in general lacking that most effective dispenser of emotion – the human voice. Though I’ve moved on from that stage of my music listening, I still do feel an affinity to older musicians (and unfortunately within my  they have been male and white, blame my rockist foundations or my white (passing) malesness) being sad. Whether this is because they’re well practised in getting their emotions on record or because the frailty of their voices is better at implying emotions I couldn’t tell you. Nick Cave’s Skeleton Tree is one example of this. Cave is old and broken. He’s never sounded more vulnerable, more afraid. Given the circumstances of the record (which I won’t go into) there’s a voyeuristic aspect to all this but Cave navigates it well – never losing control, always giving just enough. Skeleton Tree is also a journey, but where Lemonade ends with resolution, Skeleton Tree accepts we’re forever lost.

Theo: Yves Tumor – Serpent Music; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree; Mitski – Puberty 2;  Grouphums – Grouphums 

I’ve been loving Serpent Music by Yves Tumor as the perfect commuting album. Transforming from subtely catchy loopy grooves to mysterious quiet breaks and back again. Nick Cave’s new release is also excellent (as per usual) with a similar mix of the beautiful and desolate to Serpent Music but using repetition instead as a base for Nick’s semi imporvised and uncoiling lyrics. Finally the Grouphums cassette (donated by Marcus Blake) is a wild ride through tribal rhythms of bleeping analog synths and ‘Life In the Bush of Ghosts’-esque samples of dialogue to loose dark sonic breaks of static and drone.

Sam: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity; Fatima Al Qadiri – Brute 

Saw the brilliantly named King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at Green Man Festival, where Nonagon Infinity definitely opened a door for me to their music – it was a bash to remember. Fatima Al Qadiri’s new album Brute was handed to me by none other than Annabel in our beloved UML. Listening to the ominous chimes of Fatima on the bus, during rainy days, in an ever more chaotic world, is an enlightening experience that should be shared. This is what the UML is all about; sharing our favourite tunes, having a laugh and a shindig once in a while.

Ivan: Kaytranada – 99.9%; Frank Ocean – Blond(e) 

Review of Frank Ocean’s Blond(e)

Frank Ocean lightly placed his 2nd studio album on our laps, almost as inconspicuously as his public appearances –  or lack thereof – in late August this year following the release of visual album, Endless. Blond(e) feels a lot like an autobiography, a journal or a scrapbook… we listen to what Ocean has been up to during the years he abandoned us to be beautiful in private and drive fast cars. We listen fondly to the words of a mother to her son preaching the warnings of student life and recount the things we drank and smoked that we were told not to whilst Buddy Ross plays soft, round keys in the background. We replay old voicemails about love and lust Frank experienced and had to part with and feel weird and uncomfortable about crying to a song with Yung Lean in it. Glance upon a roughly scrawled piece by Andre 3000 that fills in the bitter gaps of a sweet and optimistic poem, antagonistically pencilling “So/low” on top of “Solo”, carrying traces of misogyny not yet unlearned and the heavy pain of police brutality. Then the album closes on Frank Ocean’s reflection of where he is in his life now, rewarding his accomplishments with a joint he waited all year to smoke, he falls asleep and leaves us to sit with the sound of a fuzzy old tape of his brother and some friends. The thing I appreciate most about this album is that I feel he found his sweet spot in terms of his own self and dealing with the public eye. His absence wasn’t a neglectful side-effect of a hedonistic life, it was the result of a struggle against a system (not unlike the ones that plague our lives) that wanted his potential to capitalize and not his story.


Remember we are open weekdays 12-4 and you have to be a member to loan stuff out. To do so, visit our Union website. You don’t have to be a student to join. If you’ve got any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch via email at leedsuml@gmail.com

See u all soon

UML ❤

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